Glen Canyon Park (2/7/2023)

Today I finished my homework in time to get out for some Naturing before class. I did try to explore more of the campus last week, but I ultimately didn’t find that much. So, I’ll be venturing out to nearby spots in the future, if and when I finish my homework in time.

I visited Glen Canyon Park, as it’s been a LONG WHILE since I last visited. AND, I’ve been keen on seeing how Islais Creek is doing there.

First off, I’m not proud to have two mammals as my primary photos. HOWEVER, BOTH species were supercrazyexciting for me to see. So I made an exception!

But let’s start from the beginning. Started at the Glen Canyon Trailhead, and I immediately noticed lovely blooms on Osoberry. I think the only other places I’ve seen it are up on Mt. Sutro and at the San Bruno Mountain Ecological Reserve. That one Osoberry bush at SBMER is no more, at least not unless it finds its way out from that mudslide, so it was nice to see here. And there were many more in the park. All with BLOOMS.

I bothered to smell them, which is something I’m trying to remember to do now, and they smell nice! You really have to get in there to get the scent, but it’s worth it. This makes me think of what my CCSF professor said tonight. That early-flowering plants are typically white and don’t have to do TOO much to attract pollinators, since there is nowhere near as much competition until Spring arrives.

Spotted a couple fungi soon after. Scurfy Twiglets and Chip Cherries. Red-flowering Currant flashed pink here and there, along with a couple Red-berried Elder shrubs getting ready to bloom. And a group of Mulch Maids delighted me near some Blackberry bushes.

A very tall euc had come down during the recent storms and crashed right onto the creek! I wonder what that kinda thing sounds like when it happens!

Speaking of the creek, it was full! Well, as full as that creek gets, I think. So nice to hear the water flowing while walking alongside it. And the Willow buds happy to be in the trees. And the Bumblebees and Bees happy to have the catkins on them.

Walked past that small Camp-looking building that has been closed up all pandemic, and there were kids there! So nice to see it being used again.

According to the Merlin Sound ID, I heard a Bewick’s Wren and a Hutton’s Vireo somewhere in the Willowy bramble. Got lucky and caught sight of the Vireo soon after.

Got to the part where the trees overhang the trail more, and I spotted a handful of very small Scurfy Twiglet-looking fungi on moss. But one was quite old and still so small. So I’m not positive on them being Scurfy Twiglets. I pulled one out, and the moss it was growing out from came with!

Ascended to the exposed trail, and I got a nice view of all the Willows below in the creek and the different colorings of their leaves. Are there two different Willow species in there? Or are there two groups that are on different timings? OR??

Walked past a newtome flowering plant, and it turned out to be California Barberry, I think! I’ve seen Barberries before, but I don’t think any that were native to California, maybe? Very cool.

Much of the exposed trail has Bermuda Buttercups on it. Straggler California Poppies here and there. And entirely IN THE SUN. I so did not dress for what that temperature felt like!

Right about there, I decided to head down back to the creek. Walking into the sun shining on my face is one of my least favorite things EVER, and I saw nothing terribly exciting up ahead. So I opted to head for the couple of Coast Live Oaks left in the area and the cool of the creekside.

Passed by some neato chert walls, then caught sight of a Hermit Thrush against one. Being very Hermity! It did reward my patience by coming out for a couple poses. So kind.

As I was heading that way, I looked at the creek below, awaiting me. And I caught sight of a COYOTE. It was high up, like the same elevation as me. In a small grassy spot on the hillside opposite the creek. Enjoying the sunshine. Just chillin’. Took a couple photos and then looked back at it with my binocs. WAITAMINUTE! There were THREE FLIPPIN’ COYOTES THERE!!! I didn’t even see the other two initially, as they were both lying down and weren’t that close to the first one. One on its side, entirely passed out. The other curled up in a ball.

OMG OMG OMG. I’ve never seen THREE ADULT COYOTES together before! Took more photos, OF COURSE, and could tell the awake Coyote was watching me a bit. It soon slowly walked over to the other two. The smaller (?) one woke up and did a Downward Dog toward it! Sign of deference?? Was it the child? Were these the parents? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

The first Coyote laid down with them, and the one passed out woke up. Looked around a little. Then went back to being passed out. Based on my verylittleexperience in watching wildlife, I’ve actually seen this behavior before! In Great Horned Owls! The Ma Owl is more awake/alert near its child than the Pa Owl, who is often not nearby and/or sleeping. Could this be another family??

I was DANG GIDDY from this and wanted people to stop and ask me what I was looking at so I could share my find RIGHT THEN. Lucky me, the third person walking past me noticed me using my camera. And he, with his own camera, said to me, “Great place to take pictures, huh?” To which, I surprisingly calmly told him about the THREE COYOTES OVER YONDER. He appeared grateful for the news and proceeded to take his own photos. Nice to have been able to share that moment IN THE MOMENT with at least one other person!

I could absolutely be wrong, but I don’t recall seeing Coyote signs here in the past. True, I’ve only been like three times before? But I don’t recall seeing those signs. And they were there today. Is it possible the coyotes are new or newish to the canyon? Need to look up sightings there on iNat.

After I had my fill of the Coyotes, I turned around to resume my path. And I noticed a couple Sparrows fly in right in front of me and onto the ground. As I stood still watching them, I noticed what looked like a mouse scurrying under a Coyote Brush! Kept still and kept watching, as it continually scurried out to eat something ohsofast then dart back under the Brush. It did this I don’t even know how many times, so I started getting some photos! Looking at it up close, it looked so cute. Like a Pika!

And then I got really lucky. It came out and stayed out a little bit longer each time. AND, it even stayed in one place to consume blades of grass! I got to see it chew like there was no tomorrow and even use its tiny hands to do so! Turns out it was a California Vole!!

Ok, here’s the thing. I’ve really wanted to see one of these. Ever since I first looked up what kind of rodents were in the Strawberry Hill area after spotting a mouse-looking creature there forever ago. iNat showed me a couple species, and by gawd did that California Vole look ADORABLE. But, I had pretty much no hope I’d see ever see one. At least, long enough to get a good look or anything. So, I can’t even tell you how jazzed I was about this! I think I could’ve stood there watching it eat grass FOR HOURS. Truly wish I could share the video of it eating grass in this post!

Took one last look at the Coyotes behind me, and the awake one was still awake and still watching the other two. Aw.

I connected back to the creek and headed South along it. And, I started to realize I’d never taken that trail before. It’s so nice! There’s a bridge, where there currently is water running below it. From the East side of the canyon. Along with two precious Great Horsetail practically in the water there. And it leads to a boardwalk! Where I spotted a Hutton’s Vireo again in the Willows across the meadow. SO NICE to know I can simply loop around the creek and keep in the delicious shade when I visit going forward!

A Chestnut-backed Chickadee, more Mulch Maids, a couple Steller’s Jays, and a beauty of a Chip Cherries greeted me out. Even spotted a BAT BOX posted on a tree as I made the last stretch out.

All in all, a nice bit of Naturing along a creek with TWO FANTASTIC WILDLIFE MOMENTS! Exciting day!!

2 thoughts on “Glen Canyon Park (2/7/2023)

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